“Sometimes we need to be brave enough to outgrow the life we’ve built.”Unknown
Life is a series of challenges, opportunities, crossroads and realizations. We all navigate these daily. When it gets really painful, a critical juncture may call for a rebuild. We know we’re past that expiration date when we start to feel restless, frustrated, unmotivated, disheartened and/or sometimes just really sad. We may justify why it’s best to stay where we are but deep down we know it’s time to make a move.
When was the last time you experienced zooming right past an expiration date in a relationship or in your work life? It can be so scary to let go of what is clearly not serving you or anyone else, for that matter. Early on, when this happened to me, I’d white knuckle it because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Culturally acceptable adages like “winners never quit,” “quitters never win” and “hang in there” looped in my mind, and I just couldn’t admit that I had outgrown the life I had built.
The reality is that sometimes you have to quit and rebuild, which means releasing what no longer serves you. It’s also important to remember that it’s not always about us; oftentimes when something isn’t serving us, it’s probably not serving others involved either. Perhaps we tell ourselves that it will get better, or it will pass, and everything will work out. We keep justifying, yet the longer we stay past the expiration date the more we compromise our wellbeing in a situation that is clearly in decline and deteriorating. We can see it, we can feel it, and yet we still hang on.
It takes courage to say, ‘I’m ready to move on,’ ‘This isn’t working,’ ‘I quit’. That last one, “I quit” seems to pack the biggest punch because we’ve bought into that cultural adage that if we quit, we lose, we’re losers…ouch!
Knowing when it’s time to release and rebuild is actually a sign of courage, not cowardice. Yes, it’s brave to let go and free up space for something better. I’ve yet to commit to a life rebuild that didn’t result in a better outcome. I actually find myself wondering why I didn’t start the process sooner.
I love the Zen Proverb, “Let go or be dragged.” It reminds me that holding on to what does not contribute to my overall well-being and expansion will eventually cause me even more pain than acknowledging the truth of the situation, facing my fear, and taking action.
Do you need to outgrow a relationship? Do you need to outgrow the work-life you’ve been hanging on to for months, perhaps years even though you know the time to let go is way past the expiration date?
First, stop and get really honest with yourself. If it’s clear that your life is out of alignment, you can tell, there are plenty of signs (I mentioned a few above). Additionally, you may feel overwhelmed, burned out, resentful, listless, or unsatisfied.
When it’s clear that you have sped past the expiration date muster some courage to begin the rebuild process. One approach that always reframes the situation and prepares me for what’s ahead is to adopt the attitude of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, “I’m going on an adventure.”
~ Coach Robbi
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